Free Software Foundation Camp (FSFTN)
It’s been a long time since I blogged. My previous posts have become stale. Anyway lets not dwell on the past. Let me tell you what I did in my vacation. I attended a summer camp on free software called Free Software Foundation – Tamil Nadu. I’m not going to be writing about what free software is, because one blog post is not enough to explain that. It’s been a rewarding experience attending it and I would like to share. I was not a complete noob attending it but still it taught me a lot of things. I think they are the most important of things.
First, I was intimidated by seeing other(better) developers and their code. They seem to have the knack for programming in their nature. After attending the camp, I met many developers and mentors who have been through the same thing I have in their programming path and have overcome the challenges and become successful. I used to be daunted to even clone a repository. But after seeing how they work, after noticing every detail, I think I have really overcome that feeling of being daunted. Now I just clone a repo, whether I’m able to get my pull request accepted or not, atleast I get to play with the code, which is fun!
One thing which I had not given much thought was the ‘Philosophy’ of free software. To be honest, I didn’t care much. All I came there for was to learn to be a better programmer. Only after a few talks I realized what the philosophy is all about. Why it is needed. Why it should be taken seriously. Also, another thing which I haven’t given much thought about was ‘Privacy’. How even the things we think are private, are actually not. Quoting from what they said, “When a service is free, you are the product”. Give some thought to that and you know why all this makes sense.
The mentors and developers were really humble and took us step by step on building applications. We mostly worked on Ruby/Ruby on Rails, MeteorJS. I knew enough programming to grasp ruby and meteor but what I focused mainly on the attention to detail. The way they built it, how they coded, what they did when they encountered a problem, their development environment, how they set things up and all that. Now this may seem ‘not so important’, but to me, this gave me feel of how it’s like to be them. I decided from then on I would hang out with them, because it gives me motivation seeing them and their work. That’s how big an impact the summer camp was on me.